Friday, March 28, 2008

Northern Mockingbird Habits

I have some exciting news to report- the Northern Mockingbird that lives in the shrubs of our side yard has hatchlings! I've posted about and referred to this mockingbird several times, and recently I've formed quite the relationship with her. I would often see her on the fence and in the fruit tree on the border of our neighbor's lot, but lately she's been hanging out in the shrub right next to where I park my car. One day I was on the front lawn going through the low bushes and picking up trash that blows into the yard and I saw her there inside one of the bushes. She didn't budge and just watched me intently as I picked up the papers caught in the leaves and branches. That's when I realized her nest must be inside of there.

In the weeks since I've watched her hang out at the bush, guarding it carefully. In the morning she'll usually be sitting right on top of it and won't move, even as I open the doors on my car adjacent to the bush. One morning there were two house sparrows harassing her in the bush and I yelled at them and made a commotion to scare them away.

Luckily the nest was untouched and this morning when I was up really early I heard their chirping from inside the nest and there was the mother in her usual perch on top of the bush.

I really wish I could have a pet right now, but our lease doesn't allow cats or dogs. I suppose my mockingbird friend is the next best thing. I like to talk to her as I get into the car and pull out of the driveway on the way to work. Anyone who witnesses this obviously must think I'm crazy.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have personal 'bird friends'?


Unknown said...

Not quite a bird friend, but I guess my zipadedoda experience. I once played 9 holes of golf in about 95 degree heat and the same (at least I assume it was the same) barn swallow swooped down real close to me on 6 of the 9 holes. I swear we were the only two living things out on the course that day.

dguzman said...

I talk to the birds all the time! I had a similar friendship with a little chipping sparrow who nested and hatched two babies in a bush in the courtyard at my workplace. We were good friends by the time they all left!

I also have a special relationship with my yard-bird black-capped chickadees, Mr and Mrs Cardinal, the tufted titmice, etc. I'm never sure if it's the same ones, but I always pretend it is and we have little conversations. But then I often have conversations with trees, creeks, rocks, etc. Maybe I'm just insane!

Birdinggirl said...

@ bostonbeerman
Hey Jim- that's a crazy story. Where were you playing golf? It's strange to think of a barn swallow out on a golf course- I want to say it was defending its nest. My only experience with barn swallows is on a family friend's farm in Bourne.

I had a chance to check out your beer blog- pretty interesting stuff!

@ dguzman

Thanks for sharing your story! It makes me feel less crazy :) We can't have pets in our apartment so I substitute with my resident Mockingbird. Sounds like you having something similar going on with your work birds. My mother likes to talk to the seagulls on the Cape- she'll pick one and address it as 'Jonathan' as in Jonathan Livingston Seagull (

Anonymous said...

We have a family of mockingbirds nested in our clematis vine on our roofdeck. The babies have not yet left the nest but we see the parents bringing in the food and hear the babies as the parents feed them. It is such an amazing sight. I can't wait to finally see the babies.

Farmer Girl said...

Does a female Mockingbird look the same as the male? Every season we have one that comes to the feeders at the end of March. He is so tame and practically gets in the feeder before I fill it in the morning. He is such a delight and I wish he would sit on my hand and eat. Birds are such a wonder along with all our squirrel friends. Its my most relaxing time, when I can sit and see the birds at the feeders.

J C said...

Hi birdinggirl. I found your blog while looking for info about my nesters. Five eggs in a low palm just outside my door. Not my first bird friends, but....I need to know something. From inside, I watched this guy build the nest. Then I saw no activity for a few days. Then I peeked, and there are five eggs there. Isnt the mom supposed to be sitting on them all the time? I thought they might be abandoned, but today I peeked again and heard a loud chirp, and there was a mocker at the rooftop looking at me...warning me no doubt. So I think the nest is not abandoned, but why isnt the mom sitting all the time? Since I'm not blogging right now, you could email an answer if you I'll be back here. Nice to meet you.

iluvflowerz said...

I have a bluebird box mounted just outside my sun room. I watched a pair of bluebirds nest in it and continued to watch them until the three baby birds flew away. This show of nature was so much like humans as they establish a home and raise a family, and it inspired me to write a book about my Mother's and my life. As I write this, a Mockingbird is building a nest in a Crepe Myrtle bush just outside my window. It is eye level and within touching distance. I am so excited to be able to watch from inside and see the entire process! Nature truly is amazing!

Marilyn Parker said...

We have several mockingbirds that fly about our property and sing their hearts out. A few years ago I pursued them and photographed them because I did not know what species it was.
My question..this year they seem real territorial and even dive-bomb the orioles that come to feed. I have seen them chase robins. Over the last five years I never saw this characteristic~! They don't chase the northern flicker because he is big and has guess.
Anyone else see this aggressiveness? Thanks..

Birdinggirl said...

@judie- Nice to meet you too! I'll try to send you an email reply too. I don't know too much about mockingbird nesting habits, but instincts tell me that the mom has it under control- that she's probably spending a lot of time sitting on her nest at night when they need it most. I've never observed a mockingbird nest closely myself- but I'll look into it because I'm interested now too.

@iluvflowers- That's wonderful. I think it's neat how mockingbirds nest in bushes. It's rare to see a bird down at your level, but I loved it when there was one nesting in our bushes at our last house.

@Indiana Parkers- I myself have never seen this aggressiveness unless they're protecting a nest. Are they doing this at your feeder?

Marilyn Parker said...

Nice to meet fellow bird lovers~! Great blog BirdingGirl~!

Thanks for all your responses to my question. I am an obvious lover of our feathered friends all of you are. Nature is a wondrous thing~!

This attack mode is happening just off the front porch where I have three feeders...for them and for me to view. I have always put out an oriole feeder and I think that they discovered grape jelly and love it. So...that is probably what it is...FOOD.

Thanks so much...I will be back~!

Marilyn Parker said... I reread the comments...! I just thought....we have 2 acres of blueberry bushes not too far from the feeders....and I do see lots of traffic in those bushes... many different birds.

I didn't think I would be back SO soon.......